My first husband, Capt. Jerry Zimmer, was an F4B Phantom jet pilot, whose aircraft was shot down on August 29, 1969, approximately 20 miles South of Da Nang, Vietnam, after six months in country. Neither Jerry nor his navigator, 1st Lt. Al Graf, was able to eject, before the aircraft crashed into the Que Son Mountains. Initially Jerry and Al were classified as Killed in Action/No Body Recovered (KIA/NBR). Years later, both Marines were listed as MIA, along with other service members whose bodies were never recovered.
Jerry has been gone nearly a half century, and hope for recovering his remains had run out a long time ago. However, in recent years our family became involved with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), now merged with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), and learned that Jerry’s and Al’s remains might, in fact, be recoverable, so we are doing everything possible to support their efforts to make this happen and bring our guys home where they belong.
NOTE: BLOG POSTS ARE NOT UPDATED, SO INFORMATION MAY HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME.
Bringing Jerry Home — continued from the Home page…
Left with a 2-year-old son as a young wife, I was devastated when told of Jerry’s death. Sure, I knew the risks, but thought it would never happen to Jerry. And when it did, it was horrible to know that I couldn’t help him. It wasn’t like he was coming home, and I’d be nursing him back to health. There were no remains, just a casualty officer, telegram and a letter from his Commanding Officer.
In 2004, my second husband, Ron Davis – a veteran Marine Corps Captain and Vietnam War Huey helicopter pilot — and I traveled to Vietnam to visit Jerry’s crash site. Unsuccessful, we ultimately learned that Jerry’s site was not located where documented and that remains might actually exist. Those revelations prompted Ron, a former FBI agent, to initiate a full-scale, personal investigation to determine the exact location of Jerry’s crash site, deep within the Que Son Mountains where his aircraft was shot down on August 29, 1969.
Ron devoted hundreds of hours researching and connecting with Marines around the country, which led to multiple visits to Vietnam by our family and friends. He then submitted a well-documented presentation to JPAC, responsible at that time for locating, recovering, identifying and repatriating military men and women listed as MIA.
In 2009, JPAC revisited the crash site, concurred with our new findings and reopened Jerry’s and Al’s case. In 2010, a joint team of U.S. military members and the Vietnamese Office Searching for Missing Persons (VNOSMP) along with a JPAC anthropologist and military team leader, conducted the first site excavation that reaped important material evidence. Because of the large debris field, other teams have conducted additional excavations, all of which produced evidence that could ultimately lead to the repatriation of Jerry’s and Al’s remains.
If Jerry’s remains are found, he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, along with our nation’s other heroes. We hope you will stay connected as our journey begins its final lap.